Bewinner Exclusive: Japan drops Mana Iwabuchi from Women’s World Cup squad
In an unexpected move, forward Mana Iwabuchi has been excluded from the Japanese national team that will compete in this year’s upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup. As a seasoned player who had participated in three previous editions of the tournament, her absence is sure to raise eyebrows.
The decision was announced by coach Futoshi Ikeda, who stated that he chose the best players based on their current form and fitness levels. Although admitting that Iwabuchi had made significant contributions to the team over the years, Ikeda stressed that his selection process was focused solely on finding players who could deliver results under specific circumstances.
Iwabuchi spent most of last season playing for Arsenal before being loaned out to Tottenham Hotspur FC during its second half. She scored once in thirteen appearances with Spurs but failed to make an impact strong enough to secure her place in Japan’s World Cup roster.
Captain Saki Kumagai remains as sole survivor from Japan’s victorious squad back in 2011
Saki Kumagai is now the only remaining member of the Japanese team which won FIFA Women’s World Cup a decade ago. The rest have retired or were replaced due to various reasons since then.
New faces included while experienced ones miss out
Yui Hasegawa (Manchester City), Fuka Nagano (Liverpool) and West Ham duo Risa Shimizu and Honoka Hayashi are among those selected by Ikeda to represent Japan in the upcoming tournament. Meanwhile, experienced players like Iwabuchi will have to watch from the sidelines.
Japan’s Group C opponents
Spain, Costa Rica and Zambia are the teams that Japan will face off against in Group C at this year’s Women’s World Cup. The Japanese team lost to Netherlands during the last 16 stage of the previous edition back in 2019 after reaching finals twice before that.
The decision by coach Futoshi Ikeda to exclude Mana Iwabuchi from Japan’s FIFA Women’s World Cup squad has raised questions among fans and experts alike. While Kumagai remains as a familiar face for Japanese supporters, there is no doubt that new players such as Hasegawa and Nagano could bring fresh perspectives and contributions to their nation’s campaign. Only time will tell if these selections were made wisely or not.